All Things Avian
Our Farmer to Farmer Field Days are showcasing innovative farmers and practices that support beneficial bird habitat. This year we are visiting North Coast farms that grow wine grapes, and vegetables and fruit; a Central Coast farm that produces vegetable and flowers; and a Sacramento Valley ranch with nut and field crops.
Each field day will host several speakers including avian researchers, farmers, conservationists, native plant specialists, and more.
Click here to learn more about how to support beneficial birds and manage pest birds in our bird booklet.
If you are interested in sponsoring one or more field days, please contact Shelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring 2020 Events
POSTPONED: Farm Field Day: Medlock Ames at Bell Mountain Ranch, Healdsburg, CA, May, 2020
POSTPONED: Farm Field Day: Blue Heron Farm, Watsonville, CA, May, 2020
With 30 nest boxes that support a multitude of Tree Swallows and Western Bluebirds, Blue Heron Farm is an oasis for birds, as the name implies. Every spring, pairs of these smaller birds begin scouting for their ideal box as they hunt pest insects in the air and on the ground. Once their nestlings hatch, they ramp up their insect consumption, helping to keep pest insect numbers down much more. After the Tree Swallows leave the farm in late summer, Dennis says he notices an increase in flea beetle scarring damage to cole crops and the spread of mosaic viruses by cucumber beetles. Bluebirds do their part too—much of their diet is composed of mosquitoes, stink bugs, and caterpillars.
POSTPONED: Farm Field Day: Davis Ranches, Colusa, CA, May 12, 2020
Davis Ranches promotes good stewardship of the land as farmers, conservationists, and members of the local community. Working with tenants and conservation partners, the owners strive to integrate sustainable farming practices and native habitat into the working agricultural landscape.
Past Spring 2019 Events
Farmer to Farmer Field Day: Duane Chamberlain Farms, Woodland, CA, March 19, 2019
Duane Chamberlain started farming when he finished college and he still farms that piece of land more than 50 years later, as well as about 60 other sites where raises alfalfa, grass and oat hay. Many of these fields have wooded edges, which support over-wintering birds that may help with pest control of the alfalfa weevil. A couple of fields hold easements specifically for the rare Swainson’s Hawks which arrive in the summer.
Farmer to Farmer Field Day: Tres Sabores, St. Helena, CA, March 21, 2019
With over 50 Western Bluebird nest boxes on her Napa Valley farm, Julie Johnson believes in replacing the niches in nature that are missing in agriculture. Tres Sabores sits on an alluvial fan of rich soils. Over half the property is still covered in Oak Woodlands, with most of the rest in vineyards, 200 olive trees and 150 pomegranate bushes. A hedgerow lines the driveway. The pomegranates and a wide variety of sages bloom ten months a year, providing nectar and insects for hummingbirds. But since woodlands with natural nesting cavities have been displaced by grapes throughout the region, Julie’s mission is to provide birds with real estate that’s in demand.
Benefiting From and Managing Birds and Bugs: Wrights Stations Vineyard, Los Gatos, CA April 24, 2019
Don't be left behind! Based on Wild Farm Alliance's recent Napa event about beneficial birds and habitat where almost 100 winemakers and others attended, you won't want to miss these leading edge presentations. Topics will focus on supporting beneficial birds and insects that consume winegrape pests including mealybugs, leafhoppers, sharpshooters, mites and scale.
Jo Ann Baumgartner of Wild Farm Alliance will discuss the many positive pest control contributions made by native birds and what we can do to support them. She will also cover pest birds and their control.
Houston Wilson, PhD and Asst. Cooperative Extension Specialist will present his extensive work with Napa growers on beneficial insect habitat and release of effective species.
Elissa Olimpi, PhD and avian researcher, will give a live presentation of local bird life temporarily captured from the immediate Wrights Station Vineyard edges in a mist net demonstration. Come on time as we will not hold the birds for long and you will have a chance to see up close our avian neighbors.
Farmer to Farmer Field Day: Riverhill Farm, Nevada City, CA, May 30, 2019
Almost 20 years ago, Alan Haight and Jo McProud transformed a dry grassland with a couple of ponds into a profitable farm and an oasis for birds and other wildlife. Their goal was to increase the biodiversity on their farm. Ornithologists and entomologists tell them they’ve succeeded. Counts show there are now more birds and insect life on the farm than in the surrounding natural landscape. They have sculpted the farm using crops, native vegetation and permeable fencing to allow for water and beneficial wildlife to flow right through, while holding the soil in place and reaping some pest control along the way.